I am a festivarian. The first time I camped at a bluegrass festival, I became one of this noble tribe. And camping in Town Park at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is a fantastic way to drop off the grid. Think of it as car camping with a bonus. With the right wristband I can go from chillin’ on my tarp in the venue, to snoozing in a hammock back in camp, to swimming in the public pool in a matter of minutes. That’s hardly what I would call “roughing it”.
We festivarians have fine-tuned the art of attending outdoor music festivals. It’s apparent in how we dress. Function is key. As a festivarian, I dress for a broad range of weather conditions. The best attire is comfortable in the heat of the day, yet provides some protection from the chill that comes when the sun goes down. And let’s not forget hygiene. There’s nothing like getting kicked out of camp on account of da funk. Wearing clothes that are easy to wash, and dry quickly means you don’t have to pack as much stuff in, or back out. And with long days in the sun, my straw cowboy hat is mandatory.
Festival season in the air, so here’s the stuff I bring to camp. It will help you blend in with the regulars.
The Z1 is the quintessential festivarian sandal. Look around and you’ll see it on more festival goers than any other shoe. Why? The BioCentric sole of the Z1 makes it very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and the strap is simple, yet effective. When the sun goes down and it gets chilly I just slip on some socks and head out to pick ‘til the sun comes back up. $75; chaco.com
Patagonia Wool 1 T-Shirt
Let me blow your mind. Wool is not just for winter. With the availability of incredibly fine fibers, wool T-shirts are what’s hot when it comes to staying cool. These fine wool fibers quickly transport moisture from the skin, keeping you from feeling sweaty. Also, wool is resistant to odors. It’s no excuse not to shower, but wearing wool means you don’t have to worry as much about festival stink. $75; patagonia.com
Guyot Designs Tap Guard
It’s so easy to get dehydrated baking in the sun on the tarp. And it’s easy to spill your water. Not so with this clever tap guard that fits plastic Nalgene and Camelbak bottles. Even better, it’s also a carbon filter that cleans said water. And in true green-lovin’ festivarian spirit it’s actually a carbon negative product. $16; guyotdesigns.com
The North Face Redpoint Jacket
I can’t pick if I’m shivering. I’ll cram the Redpoint in the bottom of my pack and pull it out when the weather turns cold. High tech insulation like Primaloft One makes light, cozy jackets like the Redpoint possible—it provides a tremendous amount of warmth for its weight, yet fits more like a shirt than a jacket. $125; thenorthface.com
FESTIVAL GEAR I COVET
Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock w/ Insect Shield Repellant
There’s nothing like nodding off during a set of Jerry Douglas while gently swinging in a hammock. With ENO’s Insect Shield it’s possible to take that nap without donating blood. You can line it with a sleeping bag and a couple extra pillows and snooze after dark. I see that ENO advertises in Elevation Outdoors. Look, I’m blatantly combining advertising and edit—could you send me a hammock, please? $75; eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com
ExOfficio Give-N-Go Boxer
Breathable boxer shorts. Man, I can’t think of anything better for long, hot days of festivarianism. Ideally I’d bring two, or maybe three pair of these boxers along and wash them when I shower. The Give-N-Go air-drys quickly and it’s treated with Aegis Microbe Shield to help fight off the funk. I promise, Ex Officio, if you send me a few pairs I won’t write about sweaty boxers again. $31; exofficio.com
The perfect bag holds all you need for the day and gets you through security without any incidents. There’s plenty of room in the Helix for a jacket, snacks, glowsticks, or whatever. And the Helix has enough pockets to baffle all but the most seasoned TSA employee. Most of the material in the Helix comes from recycled plastic bottles, which makes it pretty cool in my book. Do you get my groove, Osprey? $69; ospreypacks.com